0421 GMT August 18, 2017
"Considering the seasonality, reaching $80 billion is quite possible, especially if we take into account the fact that metal prices have increased very much in the last month, including in anticipation of a decline in Chinese output and closure of ecologically harmful and surplus production capacities," Alexander Gabuyev, head of the Russia in Asian-Pacific program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
According to China's General Administration of Customs, the import and export turnover between Russia and China in January-July 2017 amounted to $46.82 billion, an increase of 21.8 percent year-on-year.
"Given the importance of raw materials in Russian exports, and if oil prices stay at the current level and metal prices remain high, then 80 billion will be achieved by the end of the year," Gabuyev said.
Meanwhile, statistics show that Russia's non-resource exports to China are also growing, which in Gabuyev's opinion should be attributed to the cheap ruble and joint efforts of both governments to eliminate tariff barriers and improve infrastructure in order to promote the trade of food products.
"Russia has significantly increased the supply of food products to China, and the assortment is gradually expanding," managing director of the International Trade Promotion division of the Russian Export Center (REC) Mikhail Mamonov said, specifying that Russian confectionery, mineral water and vegetable oil are especially popular with Chinese consumers.
Currently, Russia's main export items to China include hydrocarbons, timber and timber products, mechanical equipment and machinery, while exports of such goods as lumber, nuclear reactor equipment, turbojet engines, electric equipment and many others are also actively growing, according to the REC.
"The main reasons for such positive dynamics are the gradual recovery of world trade, as well as increased cooperation between Russia and China," Mamonov said.
He said it could well be expected that China and Russia are able to hit the trade target by the end of the year, given the fact that the two sides have achieved almost $40 billion in trade in the first half of this year.
Vitaly Monkevich, president of the Russian-Asian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, also sees great possibility of reaching the bilateral trade goal this year, highlighting the recovery of the economy, the near target-level inflation and recovery of demand in the world commodity market.
Mentioning that the third quarter of each year is usually strong in trade and economic relations, he said the two countries could well reach the commodity turnover of $80 billion by the end of 2017 if current trends in commodity and currency markets are maintained.
Calling the goal of lifting China-Russia trade volume to $200 billion by the year of 2020 "a complex and ambitious task," Monkevich said it is still likely to be achieved if joint investment projects are implemented along with China's Belt and Road Initiative and restrictions on agricultural products imports are lifted.
"Also, the growth of trade could be also stimulated by a significant acceleration of economic growth in the Russian Federation and the maintenance of the current growth rates of the Chinese economy," Monkevich said.
Compared to keeping in mind any specific figure, Gabuyev said that it is more important to first take measures to simplify terms of trade to facilitate the cross-border delivery of products, such as removing tariff barriers and setting up a free trade zone.